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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Trifle - First Meeting (1971 uk, sensational brass progressive jazz rock, 2010 Esoteric remaster)

The late sixties and early seventies were incredibly productive times for rock music with more scenes than you could shake a stick. There seemed almost to be three distinct breeds of Progressive rock – the folk and classical based movement typified by the Canterbury set, the Blues based bands like Taste or The Groundhogs and the crossover bands like Colosseum or, in this case Trifle.

Trifle only ever made one album and it has been a collectors item for years and I think that this is the first CD issue of the album and it really is a bit more than just a curio. The songs like ‘Alibi Annie’ are fairly typical of the time, the lyrics are less than deep but they serve to create a baseboard for the musicians and the quality there is really something. Because the horn section of Barry Martin (saxes), John Protchard (Trumpet) and Dick Cuthell (Trumpet) are an integral part of the band the music is written with horns in mind and this creates a more powerful and subtle sound. Not that George Bean’s guitar or vocals are weak, they aren’t and Speedy King works well with Rod Coombes to anchor the rhythm section.

The best numbers are those where they try to create something unique and they hit the spot on ‘Is It Loud?’ with the horns in a very jazzy space and the keyboards meandering beautifully all creating a mesmerising sound that is a combination of Nucleus and ELP if you can imagine such a thing. ‘Old Fashioned Prayer Meeting’ has a gospelly and funky feel to it and ‘New Religion’ is very dark and moody and there is a touch of menace about the number but the standout track on the album is undoubtedly ‘Devil Comin’ – which has more than a touch of voodoo about it and a beaten rhythm that chills the listener..

As a bonus we get ‘Dirty Old Town’ which was the b-side to their single ‘Prayer Meeting’ and probably could have been a hit in its own right. Overall a good album with more than a few touches of real brilliance and about time it was re-issued.
by Andy Snipper

1. Alibi Annie (George Bean, Dick Cuthell, Chico Greenwood, Patrick King) - 4:55
2. Home Again (R.Berkowitz) - 4:05
3. One Way Glass (Mann, Thomas) - 4:34
4. But I Might Die Tonight (Stevens) - 3:51
5. Is It Loud? (Alan Fealdman) - 8:10
6. Old Fashioned Prayer Meeting (George Bean, Patrick King) - 4:39
7. New Religion (George Bean, Dick Cuthell) - 5:43
8. Devil Comin '(George Bean, Patrick King) - 7:45
9. Candle Light (George Bean, John Hitchen) - 1:48
10.Dirty Old Town (George Bean, Dick Cuthell, Barry Martin) - 3:48
11.Old Fashioned Prayer Meeting (Single Version) (George Bean, Patrick King) - 4:38

*George Bean - Vocals
*John Hitchen - Guitar
*Patrick Speedy King - Bass
*Barry Martin - Tenor, Baritone Saxophones
*Dick Cuthel - Horns
*Brian (Chico) Greenwood - Drums

Free Text


  1. Very good choice ! Thanks a lot...

  2. I used to lust over Heaven's Brass Rock when it came out but couldn't afford it... looking forward to this... thanks very much!

  3. Such a very fine jazzrock album, one of my very favorites that I've ever heard!

  4. Trifle released 'First Meeting' in 1971, but the untimely death of lead singer George Bean, a few months later, meant that this was not only the first, but also the last time we’d meet this band...a pity!

    Once released by the record label Dawn (including: Titus Groan, Comus, Man, Fruupp ...) a very good album, British band playing especially the hybrid jazz-rock fusion sounds that were starting to coalesce out of the remnants of the psychedelic era. in the atmosphere of the achievements of such groups as: Manfred Mann Chapter Three, Titus Groan and Galliard.(1971 must have been one of the greatest years for music--especially for all these wonderful 'forgotten' English bands!) They keep their songs tight for the most part, there’s some splendid keyboard work on occasion, although the driving force behind First Meeting is clearly the prominent brass section, providing the aforementioned jazz influence. ‘Alibi Annie’ kicks things into touch with a pleasing funk groove that belies the band’s earlier incarnation as a soul-influenced unit. Here, in particular, the Hammond (?) organ weaves a magical spell, its mellifluous intricacies provided by the silvery fingers of Alan Fealdman. ‘Is It Loud?’, a purely instrumental track,is definitely a highlight--showing the band's instrumental abilities, is another instance where his piano and keyboard wizardry is allowed to the fore, egged on by a rattling blend of trumpets and sax or version of Manfred Mann Chapter Three’s ‘One Way Glass’, which appeared on the excellent Cave of Clear Light box-set. , I don’t know, but for me, it remains the best track here. The keyboards may take a backseat, but this is more than compensated for by the driving bassline, the captivating horns, an occasional burst of psychedelic guitar and the somewhat trippy lyrics that lend an otherworldly, laidback ambience to the proceedings. The high points make it a worthwhile listen, as does Fealdman’s stint on all things keyboard, and it chugs along nicely without ever asking too much of the listener or threatening to wear down its higher gears.

    Thx Marios!

  5. The line up on the album
    First Meeting was really:
    George Bean (vocals)he did not and could not play guitar!
    Pat King (bass)
    John Hitchen (guitars)thats me by the way.
    Alan Fieldman (hammond organ/piano)
    Brian (Chico)Greenwood (drums)
    Barrie Martin (tenor/baritone sax)
    Dick Cuthel (horns)


    1. Hopefully you’ll remember me from Ultimate days.
      If so can you email me on as I’m updating the Trifle website and would appreciate your input
      Regards Paul Griffiths

  6. Thank you John Hitchen,
    I made the corrections.

  7. Hello,
    My dad was the drummer in this band Brian Wilfred Greenwood (chico) and I have been trying to research his music history..... if you had any photos (unlikely i know) I would very much like to see them or any info at all really...... please contact me on...
    many thanks Ed

    1. I was searching for info on this album as my dad owned a copy. He knew Chico at the time. I'll email you though I don't know much. Did you contact John Hitchen as above? Angela

  8. I still see the error, it hasn't been corrected. George Bean did not play guitar.

  9. Hi, thanks for this! But can you update the link since Link Safe is down? Cheers!

  10. Yes we do! Thank you. I'm new to this blog and looking through your history.

  11. John Protchard (Trumpet) and Dick Cuthell (Trumpet) are an integral part of the band the music is written with horns in mind and this creates a more powerful and subtle sound. cd review

  12. I was agent for Trifle until the band folded and have started a Facebook page for them :

    John Hitchen - it would be good to hear from you

  13. winston smith, ""Trifle - First Meeting", re-met...

  14. The Song on this Album "Dirty Old Town"is Not the Dubliners version, The Dubliners version was written by Ewan MacColl,the Pogues also done a version of it..this is a Completely different song.

  15. @sean that is correct. The best version of the Ewan MacColl written Dirty old Town was by Rod Stewart on his first album in 1969, a year after the Dubliners version, and long before the Pogues ever existed.